Myanmar regional gov’t orders striking workers to move out from occupied Chinese garment factory

Factory workers strike at Hangzhou Hundred-Tex Garment (Myanmar) Co Ltd in Shwe Lin Pan Industrial Zone in Yangon's Hlaingtharyar township in January 2017. Photo: Khaing Zar/Facebook

Myanmar's Yangon regional government said on Saturday that it had ordered striking workers to move out from the Chinese-invested garment factory they occupied. 

The Hangzhou Hundred-Tex Garment (Myanmar) Co Ltd in Shwe Lin Pan Industrial Zone in Yangon's Hlaingtharyar township was assaulted and destroyed by hundreds of striking workers and non-factory personnel on Thursday, during which seven Chinese citizen workers were trapped in the factory for nine hours before they were allowed by the striking workers to leave the factory. However, the factory was still occupied by the striking workers. 

The Chinese Embassy in Yangon said in a circular Friday that the Myanmar police authorities had detained five perpetrators and the embassy continued to lodged solemn representations to the Myanmar authorities, demanding the Myanmar side to take effective action to restore the work order and production of the factory as soon as possible and punish the perpetrators to protect the legal rights of Chinese nationals and the legal interest of the Chinese enterprise. 

According to the Yangon regional government Saturday , the authorities had assigned U Zaw Aye Maung, minister of Rakhine Ethnic Affairs, to lead in addressing the case. 

U Zaw Aye Maung told Xinhua that he had met with the factory administration and representatives of the Myanmar Workers Federation on Thursday, requesting the federation to warn the striking side that such strike by sealing the factory is illegal and having impact on the image of the country and they should stop immediately such illegal acts and move out from the factory or will be dealt with in accordance with law. 

U Zaw Aye Maung added that the federation had done accordingly, noting that the loss of the factory due to destruction and the case of individuals beaten will be investigated under a legal case opened with them and be dealt with under law. 

U Aung KyawTunNaing Oo, central executive member of the Workers Federation and workers' representative of Yangon Region Labor Arbitration Organization, also told Xinhua that through negotiation, the final development was that the labor side had been brought to calm and they would also leave the factory and resume work. 

However, workers on strike did not leave the factory untill Saturday morning but still sealing the entrance of the factory, the factory administration said. 

In the latest development, there was not a single worker remained in the factory after 01:00 p.m. local time on Saturday, U Aung Kyaw confirmed with Xinhua. 

The Hangzhou Hundred-Tex Garment (Myanmar) Co Ltd has registered in Myanmar for three years which has 10 Chinese and about 500 Myanmar-national employees. The factory had experienced workers' strike twice in December 2016 and January 2017.

Courtesy Global Times

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